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RPI Shows No Mercy

Engineers do what they should: put away MAAC's Mercyhurst

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, November 18, 2001

TROY - All streaks must begin with one victory, and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers hope they began one Saturday night with a 4-3 non-conference decision over Mercyhurst.

'Two' was the Engineers' magic number in the first period, as Carson Butterwick, Danny Eberly and Chris Migliore each scored his second goal of the season within 3:19 of one another, giving RPI a 3-1 lead and firm command of the game.

The Engineers improved to 3-4-0 on the season and also:

  • Won without leading goal-scorer Matt Murley, who rested after taking a blow to the head against Cornell last weekend;
  • Scored a trio of power-play goals;
  • Continued to play hard in the third period, peppering the Mercyhurst net rather than sit on their two-goal lead;
  • And got a win for last season's starting goalie Nathan Marsters, who had struggled early this season with rebounds - and his confidence.

The only disturbing aspect was a pair of bookend goals by the Lakers in the first and final minutes of the contest.

David Wrigley sneaked in behind the RPI defense and beat Marsters with a backhander just 21 seconds in, and Mercyhurst got a goal - by Marty Rychley - from its fourth line with 50.9 seconds remaining.

And there were a couple of trying moments in the closing seconds as the Lakers pulled goalie Peter Aubry and Marsters had to come up with a big stick save on a faceoff.

Eberly and Nolan Graham each charted a goal and an assist to lead the Engineers' attack, while Marc Cavosie and Jim Vickers each assisted twice.

"Yeah, you spot 'em one goal when they fly the (defensive) zone and get a lucky bounce less than 30 seconds in, then you take a penalty (1:30 later); not the way you want to start a game," said Rensselaer coach Dan Fridgen.

"But I thought we did a real good job coming back in the first period," he said, "and then not looking back."

On the Engineers' first rush of their first power play, Eberly streaked up left wing as if he were trying out for forward. He blew by one Lakers defender, drew a second to him and dished off to Butterwick slicing down the slot. The big western Canadian wristed one over Aubry's stick for a 1-1 tie.

"Nolan moved the puck real well," Eberly said, "and I just happened to skate through center ice at full speed and it was a great read by Carson. It was great movement by everyone on the power play."

Rensselaer's second power play was a 4-on-3, a scary proposition for opponents with Marc Cavosie carrying the puck in open ice.

The junior center, playing left wing in Murley's absence, skated through the left circle near the goal line, eyed Aubry, then rifled a pass to Eberly coming down from the right point. Aubry had little chance on Eberly's one-time blast which gave RPI a 2-1 lead at 14:35.

"Once again, we're just moving the puck to the open guy, 4-on-3," Eberly said, "Anyone could have put that one in, really. We just moved the puck into the seam and I had the whole net to shoot at."

Fifty-seven seconds later, Migliore found himself with a rebound in the right circle and a screen from a Lakers defenseman. The always-checking right winger looked like a big scorer in converting the quality chance, burying the fifth goal of his 75-game career.

"It just bounced right for me," Migliore said. "Conrad (Barnes) broke to the net hard, that's what caused it. The goalie didn't come out and play it. I just got a lucky bury."

Each goaltender gave up a squeeze-through-the-pads rebound in the goalcrease during the second period, Mike Carter of Mercyhurst and Graham getting the easy flip-ins.

"We know this is a tough place to win," said Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin. "And RPI has a very good power play, they moved the puck so well. But 3-1 after one ... I give our guys a lot of credit because we kept our nose to the grindstone and kept working, working. We got a late one to make it close and got a couple of looks at the end, but it wasn't meant to be."

Rensselaer captain Steve Munn was asked if the triumph was a streak-starter.

"I would hope so," he said. "If there's a chance for us to really get a string together this year, this is it. We've got nine straight at home and several one-game weekends. This is it."

NOTES: Murley and Ryan Shields, also one of just a handful of Engineers who had more than one goal prior to Saturday, could have played had Saturday's contest been a conference game... Iona, like Mercyhurst a contender for the MAAC title, comes to Houston Field House next Saturday night... RPI power play is now 10-for-35, 28.6 percent... Marsters had 33 saves and "played very well," said Fridgen.